Thursday, December 10, 2009

Let’s Take a Walk Down Memory Lane…

By Danielle

Have you ever had one of those days where the world is spinning—you have too much to do and if it all doesn’t get done you’re going to go insane… and to top it all of, you’ve got the worst sinus infection in history?

I’m having that kind of a WEEK let a lone a day (hence my recent absence from the comments). So here’s my favorite blog post, which also happens to be the first one I ever posted, back on May 9, 2008. I’ve edited it down a bit, but it’s the funny story about how I came to be publicist I am today. Enjoy!

It’s a little intimidating being the only non-author regular contributor—you all have such great stories about your inspiration and what made you start writing! But I do have a funny story about how my journey at Sourcebooks began. On the day I received the call to come in for my interview with Sourcebooks Publicity, I had quite the adventure…

That morning, I had an interview for another job. I got ready, making sure I looked cute and professional. I decided to take the train because the job was downtown Chicago, so it wouldn’t be a far walk from the station. Well, I have no sense of direction and ended up walking about 6 blocks (6 city blocks = 1 mile) in the opposite direction. In heels. Like any distraught young lady, I called my dad and he told me to just catch a cab; there was no way I’d make it on time. I quickly found a cab and could feel the huge blisters forming on my feet.

Enter my strangely talkative cab driver; he was incredibly jolly and had a lovely African accent. Instead of the normal cab chit-chat, he was really interested in what I was doing downtown. He asked me why “such a little lady is going to such a big building,” and I told him I had a job interview. Then he asked where I had gone to school and what I studied. When I told him I had an English degree from Bradley University, he immediately asked “What does one do with an English Degree?” I’m sure I said something smart, but indulged the rest of his questions, which began to take on a much more spiritual nature…

When we pulled up to my destination, he said to me “Because you are so nice, I will not make you pay, but I want you to have something to give you direction in your life journey,” and hands me a copy of the Qu’ran with pamphlets on why I should consider Islam as my religious path. I was caught off guard, but happy for the free cab ride!

So, I go up to my interview, and probably would have done wonderfully, but all I could think about was how embarrassed I was to have a random copy of the Qu’ran sticking out of my bag, blisters forming on my feet, and by that point of the morning, it was already sweltering in Chicago—so I was sweaty. Great first impression.

Once my horrible interview was over I quickly changed into the cheap flip flops I threw in my purse that morning and limped to do some shopping. The blistered agony took hold, and I decided to go sit in the garden at the Art Institute of Chicago. I bought a sandwich from a deli and sat down to read when I noticed the most beautiful bike messenger I had ever seen sitting across from me. He smiled my way, I smiled his, trying to look somewhat cool balancing my sandwich and my book on my knees.

Here’s where Sourcebooks comes into the picture—my phone rang and saw a number I didn’t recognize. I answered and to my delight, it was Sourcebooks; they wanted me to come in for an interview! I was beyond excited, trying to pull out my small day planner and a pen, fishing through a purse full of high heels, lip gloss and gum wrappers. The entire time I noticed the bike messenger snickering to himself at my awkward display…

Finally, I found a pen, situated my sandwich on one knee, my planner on another and pen in hand, looking to the week ahead when I was available—when all of a sudden a BIRD POOPED ON MY KNEE. Inches away from my sandwich, leaving a mess on my skirt. So here I am, on the phone with my future employer trying to stay collected when I have bird crap on my favorite skirt and a hot bike messenger watching the whole thing. And laughing. And I don’t mean chuckling, I mean full on LAUGHING.

But somehow I persevered, kept my cool on the phone and made a date for the interview. When I was off the phone, I had an audible freak out, making a few of the people near me move away for disturbing their lunch. And the bike messenger would not stop laughing or staring at me while I tried to wash away the bird mess on my skirt.

However, I read somewhere that bird poop is a sign of good luck—and it must hold some truth, because a week later I had a fabulous interview, and a week after that I had a job with Sourcebooks, and it eventually led to a lead publicist position for Sourcebooks Casablanca. I’m happy to be a part of your blog, getting to know all of you and offering what I’m discovering about romance PR!

Now if I see this strange “job interview interlude” show up in any of your books, I expect some sort of recognition! So here’s my question—a lot of you have or have had various jobs before or during your writing careers. Do you have any horror stories? On the job, on an interview, or anything? I can’t wait to hear what you all have to say.

I’ll do my best to be around today! Happy Holidays to everyone!


  1. But wait... what happened to the cute guy? In my book, he would have come over and asked the heroine out. Or, probably told her he'd fallen madly in love with her on first sight and they need to run away to the South Pacific to spend the rest of their lives together.

    That's what happened, right?

    Feel better, Danielle!

  2. What a great story, Danielle! Thanks for sharing...

  3. I want to know what happened to the guy too. Did he offer to help you clean the poop off your skirt or at least buy you another sandwich.

    Hope you're feeling better soon. I know exactly what you mean about sinus problems ..

    Happy Holidays.

  4. I've been sick for 3 weeks, so feel your pain! :( I still love this story. But it had a happily ever after, not with the guy of course. :) He was not your hero type.

  5. Such a terrific story, Danielle! And I have to say, it was good luck all around when Sourcebooks hired you.

    About the story showing up in one of our books--see, the messenger guy was really a SEAL, which is how he came to be so hot. He was on leave and when his sister's fledgling messenger service was threatened by some mob-type characters, he volunteered to take the place of one of her employees to see if he could draw the bad guys into the open.

    The only thing is, he didn't know Chicago, so he was totally dependent on his phone, but the GPS on the phone broke (don't ask me how.)

    Now, SEALs are nothing if not resourceful. When the really cute girl in a business suit and flip-flops (that revealed seriously red and swollen toes) on the park bench gave him the eye, he gave her the eye right back. A little charm, a little finesse and he would be able to ...
    Hope you're better soon!

  6. That's a story that never gets old, Danielle! Thanks for re-sharing it. Hope you're feeling better! I am plagued by sinus trouble so I feel your PAIN!

  7. Hahah,Judi and Mason, unfortunately, this is REALITY and the messenger eventually went away, still laughing, as I sat there. But one can dream right? :) I definitley like the sound of teh South Pacific right now!

  8. Terry--I hope you are feeling better too! 3 weeks is so long!! And you are right, he was not my type of hero...

  9. MM--Everything makes so much sense now! Of course he was a SEAL, hiding his frustration in being lost and attraction to an unsuspecting girl behind laughing. Love it!

  10. Hey Marie- I hope you are feeling better soon, too! I hope this isn't some kind of weird Casa-only sinus thing. haha, what are the odds!

  11. Wonderfully funny story, Danielle! And hey, I'm kind of a dork, so stuff like that happens to me all the time. Once, I accidentally walked into a men's bathroom, I once dropped my cell in the toilet on a lunch date with my agent, I've tripped MORE than once on an invisible rock...I've done it all. Although I've never been pooped on by a bird, but my DH has. Several times. I'll have to tell him he's lucky!

  12. Ah, yes! I remember the bird poop story. It made me laugh then, too.
    Hope you're feeling better soon!

  13. Hi Kathryne,

    You and I are in the same boat when it comes to being clumsy or finding myself in strange situations and trying to limit my over the top reactions. I've come to terms with being described as "quirky" :)

    Cheryl--thank you!

  14. Hey Danielle,
    Tis the season for all kinds of crud. :-( I've been sick since Friday the 13th, but hope some nice warm Mexican sun will cure me at last.

    I remember the bird poop story so well, mostly because that has happened to ME. A couple of times, in fact, but I did NOT feel particularly lucky (just like you didn't). Still, there must be some truth to it because you ended up at Sourcebooks working with ALL OF US!! YAY!!!


  15. And the best day for us because we got you!

    Love the pic of Katherine Hepburn. She's one of my absolute favorites.


  16. AC--it really is the season for being sick. Almost everyone I know is under the weather (I blame the abrupt Arctic Freeze that has dumped itself in the Midwest this week). Bah Humbug!

    Linda--I love her, too! She's so inspiring :)

  17. Feel better, Danielle. I've got one kid down with pneumonia, another performing in The Nutcracker, a book due way too soon, and I've done absolutely no Christmas shopping. I feel your pain.

    Loved the story both times. We're very lucky to have you with us.

  18. Hey Robin! Man oh Man, you are BUSY! Good luck!

  19. Danielle, That is a fabulous story! I missed it the first time around so am very glad you shared it again. Too bad the hot guy didn't come through - too busy ROTFLHAO I guess. :)

    I hope you are better now. I have been very sick too, so I feel your pain. Wishing you health.